by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
IntroductionRecently a member of this site asked about the Hobbycraft Ar 234C. I decided to review the venerable model. It has fair detail and fit.
Hobbycraft debuted over 20 years ago with a line of crudely molded aircraft models that look suspiciously like models made by other model manufacturers which I had built, e.g., 1/72 F-82, 1/100 MiG-15 and F-86 set. Hobbycraft also rapidly released a series of ‘modelers' wish-list’ injection 1/48 and 1/72 models: Morane-Saulnier 406, Bell P-59 Airacomet series, Lavochkin La-5, Seversky P-35s and Curtiss P-36 series, Dornier Do 17, F-89 series, and McDonnell F2H Banshee, to name a few. Another of Hobbycraft’s wish-list models is this 1/48 Arado four-jet engine bomber, the Arado 234C.
Arado Ar 234The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first operational jet-powered bomber, built by the German Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. Produced in very limited numbers, it was used almost entirely in the reconnaissance role, but in its few uses as a bomber it proved to be nearly impossible to intercept. It was the last Luftwaffe aircraft to fly over England during the war, in April 1945. Powered by a pair of Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojets like the higher priority ME 262, the decision was made to re-engine the Arado. A quartet of BMW 003A engines was used, creating the Ar 234C. The new aircraft experienced increased performance but only 14 were built by war’s end.
In The Box The instructions were printed in 1991. This model is older than I thought! It is also kitted in conjunction with War Eagle® Inc. Several part numbers specific to the 234C have “new” printed next to them in the instructions; although I don’t know for certain, I surmise that Hobbycraft kitted a two-burner Arado and partnered with War Eagle for the parts needed for the Ar 234C.
Packed in a common lid/tray box, the kit consists of five sprues of over 95 gray styrene parts and two clear pieces.
Hobbycraft engineered the airframe parts with basic shallow, but wide, recessed panel lines. The canopy parts have slightly raised lines. In profile and planform the model looks accurate. Molding is good with no flash, although I found some ejector circles, seam lines, and a few sink holes. Raised detail is 'soft'.
The fit of the wing halves is good. The fit of the fuselage halves is inconsistent (see the photographs). I squeezed the wings together and test-fit them to the fuselage — good fit. The engine nacelles, not so much.
Your Ar 234C model consists of the basic airframe, a huge SC 1400 (1400 kg) bomb, two drop tanks, and two Walter HWK 500 R-Geräte RATO (RATO = Rocket Assisted Take Off) packs. You must open the holes in the wings if you want to mount the RATOs.
DetailFirst the good news. The cockpit is built with 21 parts! They have basic raised and recessed detail. The instrument panel has the instrument body cans in the back but lacks any detail in the instrument faces. Otherwise, you have a circuit breaker panel, individual rudder pedals, two throttle levers, and other separate components.
Separate exhaust cones fit into the engine exhaust ports. Individual mass balances for empennage control surfaces are provided, too.
The bad news is that is the highlight of detail. The engine intakes feature compressor blades molded into the intakes. There is no detail inside the landing gear wells or doors; the doors are thick. All other detail is pretty basic.
Painting and DecalsNo paint brands are referenced for the 10 RLM and FS colors. A single camouflage pattern of RLM 82/81/76 (Hellgrün/Brunviolet/Lichtblau) is depicted.
Insignias are the standard late-war white outline Balkan Cruz for top and side, and a black pair for the underside. Swastikas are in two halves to get around their being illegal in Germany. No unit markings are included although three Werk Nummeren are. Neither data nor servicing stencils are provided.
ConclusionWith recessed panel lines, an impressive cockpit, fair fit, and fairly clean molding, Hobbycraft kitted a nice Ar 234C. The basic detail, sink marks and some fit problems detract from the overall model. It does not measure up to the Hasegawa/Revell model Arados now available. If you can find one it will probably be much less expensive than the recent kits. Just be willing to deal with some of the problems and sparse detail.
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